Towards digital engineering
We are in the year 2021. Mechanical engineering has initiated the digital transformation and the first paths towards digital engineering are being followed. But not all companies are on this path yet. Weiss wants to take a strategic step forward here and offers mechanical engineers and end users modern tools for easier integration - in each case in line with their digital maturity level.
When it comes to integrating components and systems in mechanical engineering, designers in particular can benefit from process optimization through digitization. In order to shorten the lead times of projects, to always meet the constantly changing customer requirements and to modernize the systems, it therefore makes sense to gradually integrate digital and smart technologies. In this course, Weiss is developing tools for engineering that also enable efficiency increases for the customer. Through the successive digitalization of individual processes, more and more digital elements are to be introduced on both sides.
System integration as the driving force
The goal of this proposal is clearly to facilitate system integration of Weiss products, which extends from components to controls to systems engineering. For example, easy commissioning of a rotary indexing table is crucial for meeting deadlines and economic project frameworks. The important thing here is that the customer can use the tools and methods to match his digital maturity level in engineering. If mechanical customer processes dominate mechanical engineering, the focus is on serial number tracking, for example: Components from Weiss are clearly identifiable and allow service to quickly draw conclusions about origin and age. The sensor technology is also prepared for data use, so that a machine operator can obtain status data from ongoing operation. A machine manufacturer can also analyse the behaviour of a rotary indexing table in advance in engineering as a simulation model.
"At Weiss, system-oriented solution expertise means three things: reliable, mechatronic and modular products, modern engineering processes and constant digital change within the company itself." Uwe Weiss, CEO, WEISS Group
This is different when mechatronic processes predominate at the customer's site: The digital nameplate creates interoperability of future-proof components via an administration shell (AAS). Weiss' control proposal includes a software layer that breaks down the complex parameter world of controllers and provides mechatronic services instead. Application-specific diagnostics, auto-tuning or condition monitoring can be precisely matched as options to the underlying mechanics. A direct connection to higher levels such as MES or ERP is also guaranteed via the control tools.
If the customer is already operating in networked processes, WEISS has already implemented an anomaly detection function as a preliminary stage to predictive maintenance. It uses machine learning mechanisms to detect patterns in large data sets. For example, irregularities in temperature profiles or speed profiles provide information about the wear of machine parts. The whole thing can be implemented with the W.A.S.2 Scalable Control package for monitoring envelope curves, which is included in the scope of a handling system or heavy-duty table.
Keyword simulation: Currently, Weiss and its partner ISG are moving towards virtual commissioning and a digital twin - initially internally for their own processes, but in the future also together with the customer. The goal is to digitally test all processes in a machine or assembly line in advance and thus reduce costs and risks in design, programming and commissioning. Customers like Heitec, on the other hand, already rely on digital benefits and virtual models (hardware or software-in-the-loop) with their own simulation tools.
"Digital transformation is a complex and dynamic change process that affects a company in all value creation areas. We are in the process of upgrading internal and external processes in such a way that our product and service quality leads even closer to the customer." Ralf Steinmann, CTO, WEISS Group
Transparency through platform economy
A new form of digital collaboration between companies is offered by the platform economy: an algorithm-based online meeting that appropriately balances demand and supply and creates goal-oriented access to solutions that meet requirements. Weiss is clearly positioning itself in this direction with its participation in the Go2Automation platform. Mechanical engineers as well as system integrators should significantly shorten processes with this B2B portal and profit accordingly.
Similarly, the aim is to expand digital business or extend system boundaries of special solutions through increasing modularization. This also reduces project risks and promotes customer-specific developments. The compatibility of kinematics or rotary indexing tables can be highlighted with the help of data, which in turn facilitates the precise selection of components for integrated system solutions. Weiss has already stored a large amount of product data on the Go2Automation platform and can thus present the components and their properties transparently. Users get a quick overview and additional information on whether and with which other systems the Weiss solutions harmonize.
With its commitment to digital engineering, Weiss has built up various milestones that users can approach to continue the journey together. The focus is on system integration of components and subsystems with digital tools and decision support. As a result, users can expect added value at the end customer and time advantages in engineering.
Under the motto What's Next? The German SPS_Magazine present a series of articles in cooperation with the WEISS Group that focus on the digital transformation. Both internal and external topics are examined in depth. They follow technology- and customer-oriented possible steps of a digitization strategy and show added values for mechanical engineers or end users. Join us on this exciting journey ... your WEISS Team.